Toronto 2010 G20 summit report released

Below is a link to the full text of Judge Morden’s report on the disgusting spectacle put on by the Toronto Police in June 2010, with over 1,000 civilians arrested and held, the great majority of whom were not charged with anything.  Dozens of stores were trashed downtown, and four police cruisers were set on fire and destroyed.

It is a lengthy read, but you can find the 38 recommendations quite easily by scrolling down the document.  They are bolded and numbered, and occur throughout the report.

I am also providing links to my own presentation to the Inquiry, and to my “Toronto Police: G-20 Riots & Beyond” category.

The events of June 2010 have had a profound affect on public opinion towards the police.  No longer do the police get a ‘free pass’, and the public is now far more likely to turn a critical eye on police actions and abuses of power.

While I wish these events had never taken place, the resulting attention can only be a good thing, in my opinion.

I am always seeking an acceptable balance in which the police have sufficient power to be able to carry out their duties promptly and efficiently, but not enough to be able to act in an arbitrary and dictatorial manner towards the public.  “Perfection” is unattainable, and the maintenance of just an “acceptable” balance of powers needs constant attention as technological advances continually emerge to pose threats to our privacy and security which could never have been imagined just a short while before.  

One item I picked up on during a brief run through the report pertains to the intended use of a “sound cannon” or somesuch.  Imagine an arrogant disciplinarian of an officer having something like that to play with!

There will be a profusion of reviews and critiques on this report, and I will watch for the best of them.

My suggestion that the powers of the Special Investigations Unit be strengthened through amendments to the governing legislation is not mentioned, but as the legislation is provincial it may well have fallen outside the Inquiry’s terms of reference.  There is a recommendation that the Chief of Police not be allowed to deal with the province directly on legislative issues, a reference to the use of the Public Works Protection Act, a leftover piece of WW II legislation.

Here is an extract from Jennifer Yang’s June 25th, 2010 article in the Toronto Star: “A 31-year-old man has already been arrested under the new regulation, which was quietly passed by the provincial cabinet on June 2…  The regulation was made under Ontario’s Public Works Protection Act and was not debated in the Legislature. According to a provincial spokesperson, the cabinet action came in response to an “extraordinary request” by Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who wanted additional policing powers shortly after learning the G20 was coming to Toronto.”

The Police Services Board seems to have had little involvement in this “extraordinary request”, if any, and the new regulation was not only mis-interpreted by the police, but the public was not properly informed either.  People were being warned off or searched by the police simply for being in the wrong place, outside the crowd control barriers, when they thought they had every right to be there.

In general terms, it seems that Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee may have been a little too deferential to the Chief, and served more as an enabler than as a monitor and critic.

My thanks and appreciation to Judge Morden for coming out of retirement to organise a thorough and painstaking investigation and report.

Jeff Goodall.

See the report “Independent Civilian Review into Matters Relating to the G20 Summit” here.

See my “G20 Riots” category here.  This will take you to the oldest (2010) entries first.

See my submission to the Inquiry here.

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